SINGAPORE--The key to creating successful, sustainable bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategies within an organization is to initially deliver small-scale achievements addressing business challenges. This will help the IT department prove its mettle and shift the perception of it being a cost center, an analyst said.
Charles Anderson, associate vice president, head of telecom practice and mobility lead at IDC Asia-Pacific, said going for "quick wins" in finding ways to chip away at business-related problems is how IT shows it can deliver results with any BYOD schemes.
"It doesn't always need to be a huge new deployment. You want to do huge things? It comes with a huge price tag," Anderson told ZDNet Asia after a media briefing organized by Good Technology here Tuesday.
For instance, the tech team can work on a new mobile app or enable an existing app to allow employees to edit e-mail attachments while on the move, since many of them now bring their personal smartphones or tablet devices for work. This is a "baby step" that yields bigger benefits such as increased staff productivity by cutting down on office processes and boosts customer satisfaction, he said.
The analyst added the focus for today's tech departments should no longer be on device procurement, or capital expenditure planning, but on managing operational costs. "Everyone is worried about mobilizing the person [but] the strategy should be focusing on the applications [the person uses frequently]," he said.
In a separate interview, Jim Watson, vice president and corporate general manager of Asia-Pacific at Good Technology, agreed that the focus for BYOD initiatives needs to shift from devices to applications, or more specifically the data.
Mobile device management (MDM) typically locks down only the device, but not the data. One problem with this approach is when devices are misplaced or lost, which means the enterprise data residing on the device is also at risk of loss or theft, he pointed out.
Instead, locking down or "containerizing" the applications will ensure the corporate data is kept safe, even if a device is lost, said Watson.
Getting employee buy-in with good UX
According to Anderson, with these quick wins, the perception of the IT department would also be changed to become the enabler of business. "IT used to be a cost center, [but] now it's a profit center," he stated.
Another benefit of this approach is it gives the IT team more time and experience when working on bigger-scale projects which may span between 12 and 18 months, he added.
The analyst called on IT professionals to pay attention to the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) for any BYOD initiative, together with security security measures, as this would determine whether employees will support the program. Without their support, the project will come to nothing, he said.